Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms
For Peace, Order and Good Government: The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Early proposals
Six colonies
Drafting a constitution
Declaration of the Commonwealth
Conducting the first Federal election
Who could vote?
The election campaign
9 May 1901
The royal visit
The first federal parliamentarians
Ministry of May, 1901
Edmund Barton
Political parties
Legislative program
Relationship between the houses

Members of the First Parliament

David Watkins

David Watkins (1865-1935)

Member for Newcastle (New South Wales) 1901-1935

David Watkins was born in Wallsend in New South Wales. A coal miner, Watkins became secretary of the local miners’ federation following the 1891 maritime strike, and was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the member for Wallsend for the Labor Electoral League.

In 1901, Watkins was elected to represent the seat of Newcastle in the House of Representatives in the first federal election. An unequivocal supporter of protection, Watkins was Labor Party Whip in the House of Representatives during the leadership of Andrew Fisher 1908-14. He was secretary of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party 1908-17.

Watkins held the seat of Newcastle continuously until his death, while in office, in 1935. His son David Oliver Watkins won the seat at the by-election following his death.

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